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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Best Game Riddles Was Too Dumb to Play 2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Honestly.

Of Riddles’ many annoying qualities, the worst might just be the way he handles a game that he hasn’t played and doesn’t have exceeding interest in.

“I’m sure it’s good,” he’ll say. “I’d probably like it,” he may add. “I might get around to it,” is probably the worst one.

I understand that 3D platformers aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. But those people have at least given them a fair shake. Riddles never even properly played Super Mario 64.

But he no longer needs to. Because now, a beautiful, challenging, incredibly well-designed, inventive, tightly-controlled game exists to replace it. Did I mention one of the greatest soundtracks in gaming? I mean it. And not just the vintage tunes, the new stuff is off the charts.

I think this game has a serious run for game of the year, and it’s far and away the greatest game on the Nintendo Wii. I have not scored a game higher on Riddlethos.com and never given a more glowing review for any game on any site I’ve written for.

Maybe Riddles might not be a platforming guy and if he gave it a serious 70-star run, he’d still shrug his shoulders, but he’s an absolute idiot for not giving this game a try. I’m not a FPS fan, but I’ve played Halo and Call of Duty because they are modern gaming essentials. I might not be a PC gamer, but I could talk basic Starcraft II strategy with you. Riddles has never properly played a 3D Mario game. Does that make you trust him as a journalist?

Runner up: DeathSpank

This one isn’t as bad, but it still reveals Riddles’ occasional archaic side. DeathSpank is a measly $15 on the PSN, and because it’s downloadable, he’ll automatically be adverse to playing it.

I’m aware that Lameish didn’t love the title, but I’m more familiar with Riddles’ preferences, and I think it’s the kinda game that deserves to be seen by him. He might love it half as much as I do, and if he does, that’s reason enough to prove that he’s stupid to not have played it.

Most Addictive Game 2010 – Ethos

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Plants vs. Zombies Game of the Year Edition

So this is a bit of a cheat. Plants vs. Zombies came out in 2009, and the Game of the Year Edition that came out this year is barely different. But I didn’t discover this gem until 2010, and Riddles chose God of War for an award last year, so suck it!

Anyway, since I discovered this cutesy tower defense brilliance early this year, I have likely booted up the game 60% of the days that followed up until today. The campaign is varied and challenging, the mini-games, challenges and survival modes are wacky, fun, and time-consuming. But even more time-consuming is the almost completely pointless Zen Garden that is just a place to harvest cash to buy upgrades.

All these facets are wrapped up in well-thought-out balancing, a charming graphical style, great music, and – obviously – an entirely addictive nature.

I’ve beat the campaign at least 10 times total and spent countless hours with the title, and only show minor signs of slowing down. This was an easy win.

Runner up: DeathSpank

This was a tossup between the Sly Collection, Mass Effect 2, and DeathSpank, but the ridiculous thong-donned hero won out. While Sly’s mission based structure kept me playing, I do eventually tire out and while I was completely sucked into Mass Effect’s universe, the pacing was perfect and I was happy to be done when it was over. DeathSpank, however, has so many sidequests on the go, and so many hilarious conversations to explore that even after a sequel released just weeks after the original, I was (and am) desperate for more.

Sunday Soapbox: It’s Only $15, You Cheap Mother Fuckers

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Hello website. Apparently you exist.

I’ve forgotten that most things exist. I’ve been working later than desired/expected this week and I’ve been doing fun, but time consuming things this weekend, so this is my first chance to sit down and write something when I’m not wiped from work or not somewhere else.

I heard a rumour that Lameish was going to post impressions of Fallout: New Vegas, but he’s caught onto one of the primary rules of the site quickly: Never follow-through on a promise. That’s our only unbreakable vow to you readers.

Anyway, I just played some Majora’s Mask music on the piano and it felt amazing but MAN is that music ever haunting and good at creating an atmosphere of loneliness. That’s usually the mood I like while playing the piano, but Majora’s Mask just took it to the next level. Song of Healing and the moody, slow version of Song of Storms are fucking beautiful and haunting as hell.

Anyway, I was going to write a Scatter Storming as you can probably tell from the rambles, but I have something specific to rant about.

Actual Editorial Starts Here

With the recent releases of DeathSpank, DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, and Costume Quest, people have been complaining more and more that these games have the “hefty” price tag of $15.

Fuck the fuck off.

Obviously your money has value and you don’t want to throw it away, and the argument of games being overpriced as a whole might have merit somewhere, but complaining that “1200 Microsoft points is a little steep for a 6-15 hour game” blows my mind into pieces.

This is a good deal.

Considering the spectrum of pricing for video games, I – and many, many others – have no problem laying down full price for Uncharted 1 and 2. I beat both those games in a combined 3 sittings. I had a short, but very positive experience. I don’t even really want to replay the Uncharted games at all and I don’t have any interest in the multiplayer that was only available in the second one anyway.

Gears of War 2 is another example of a $60 game (more in Canada) that I beat in (essentially) one sitting, and it’s a game with broken multiplayer. That game has a bunch of fans and (too much) critical acclaim. And while you hear the issue of cost, “overpriced” is not the most common complaint issued against the game.

For some reason, when any game is released to the PSN or XBL at $15, the internet explodes with angered rants and comments that the price is practically robbery, and it’s almost the only comments heard about the title.

Perhaps it’s because the retail market pricing is a little more fixed, and because $15 was unheard of before Braid in the downloadable space. Still, paying a quarter of the price for a lot more than a quarter of a game isn’t “a little too steep” in my books.

$15 is a meal and a half at Wendy’s, it’s 3 round trips by public transit in Toronto, it’s the price of 3 cups of coffee if you go to Starbucks. It is not a whole lot of money compared to what most people spend on a routine basis.

Obviously games like Fallout 3, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect (to name only a few) can give 40-100+ hours of gameplay. But good games of such massive size aren’t common and are of incredible value. And that’s assuming I put hundreds of hours into these games. I often don’t have the time anymore.

Even if Costume Quest – which I’m playing right now and enjoying – does only end up being 6 hours if played once, that’s $2.50 an hour for a fun game. Even a 20 hour retail game ends up being 3 bucks an hour. And 20 hours is often considered to be a solid length for non-shooters.

And don’t give me the “I can trade in for retail games” argument. Not only can you trade in for points cards (at least in North America), that argument also doesn’t diminish nor change the value of the title itself. Sure, perhaps you can’t afford $15 if you’re unable to trade in for a points card, but that doesn’t mean that the game is too pricey.

Seriously, I’m over $15 downloadable games getting shit on for being a great deal.

An Obligatory Consolation

Monday, October 11th, 2010

To any and all who have recently learned the definition of, and become the subsequent victim of a Turkey Dump: my most sincere and heartfelt condolences. Keep close to heart, the fact that life is long and the next four years will be a veritable wilderness of toga parties, keggers, and other bold-faced challenges to your liver. They will leave you dehydrated, grease-hungry, and just a bit more world-weary. Take time to grieve, but when it comes time to leave the shelter of your former bedroom that your parents have maintained should you crumble under the weight of Academia and tumble back in to their ever-loving arms, hold your chin high, clutch tightly your red plastic cup, and remember that Call Me Lameish is here to listen to your squalid blubberings every Monday, for about three and a half minutes or so.

-Lameish

Scatter Storming. Issue #039

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

It’s about time this shit came back. If you’ll notice, the logo for Scatter Storming still reads “Gaming Rambles”. Riddlethos’ slow changes don’t seek to replace our content but rather add to it. Anyway, our little behind the scenes week made me miss rambling about DeathSpank, so how about I do that!

DeathSpank! -
When did I become such a massive fan of this series? I was mildly interesting in playing the demo, then I tried the demo, liked it enough to consider buying it, and then BAMMO! I’m the biggest fan of the Diablo meets Monkey Island action RPG series. I have already bought and completed (with 100% trophies) the sequel, and now I realize I’ve been spoiled. With two titles in two months, I now expect my constant hunger for DeathSpank to be filled.

That being said, I didn’t love the second game quite as much as the original. It actually started off stronger and funnier, but in the end, it somehow got a bit too wrapped up in the ridiculous story. I mean, it’s still hilarious to defeat evil Santa in order to steal his corrupt thong, but the payoff didn’t feel the same. It also could have been because I hit the level cap in good time before beating the game and that took some of the satisfaction out of it.

In the original, I had to spend a while killing unicorns before I could reach level 20, and with Thongs of Virtue, it seems like just doing all the sidequests is more than enough to bring DeathSpank to max. I suppose these things are more difficult to balance in a bigger game (because Thongs of Virtue is bigger), but it was still disappointing.

But this is all relative! The game is still fun as all fuck, hilarious as all fuck, and my new favourite franchise. Nathan Drake, eat your heart out.

Playstation Plus -
Yeah, I got it. I’m not going to defend myself on this one. So far I’ve downloaded Mushroom Wars for free (or subscription-long rental), and beat that. That was fun. Did the same with Zen Pinball, but didn’t care nearly as much. I’m going to pay more attention to how many things will be discounted that I would have bought anyway.

Also, I guess the early God of War demo for PSP would have been cool if I cared about that series.

Speaking of Playstation… -
Looks like I’ll be going to a Sony event early next week. I’ll be there for work, so I imagine most of my time will be spent doing interviews, but I’ll try to play as many games as possible. After all, I expect Infamous 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2 to be there at the very least.

Professor Layton -
Did I talk about this game? I feel like it’s been so long, friends! I beat Unwound Future and fucking adored it. The biggest problem was that at the ending, I was actually so into the story, that I just used all my hint coins to zoom past the puzzles. In retrospect, that seems counter-intuitive to the point of the game. Oh well.

That’s all for now. Like I just said, I feel like it’s been forever, so it’s time to catch up, guys! There’s been 3DS news, so I’m sure I’ll get to that on Friday. I also want to write a Modern Family premiere review at the very least. Also, keep your eyes peeled for that Monday feature that Riddles’ pitched. I think you guys will approve.

AMAZING!

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

More DeathSpank! Win!

DEATHSPANK SEQUEL!

Yup. Already. Fantastic. It’s called DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue. I couldn’t ask for more.

I know the game was originally designed to be episodic, so I guess a lot more was developed than it seemed. This is great news to me because I loved that game and have actually been craving more. To have a sequel in a month is beautiful music to my ears.

Oh, and as for a new theme week? Riddles can decide, I’ve had his back recently, now it’s his turn to have mine.

Especially because I just got a review copy of Metroid: Other M so that I can provide you all with a review in time for release. Long live Riddlethos! And Deathspank!

Scatter Storming. Issue #035

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Oh why the hell not? Let’s make a Scatter Storming on a Tuesday. This cadence to Sexy Summer Week is going on a bit longer than expected, especially because it’s Riddlethos’ birthday in two days! I would just make the push to the following week, but I don’t trust myself to make a banner for such an important event, and I really want to see Riddles’ Shelob post! Anyway, I’ve actually played about a billion games, so let’s get on with it.

I beat DeathSpank -
And it was awesome! Seriously, from the demo it seemed fun, but it remained way more consistently rewarding than I was expecting. I love that you can store as many quests up as you like without having to worry about some expiring if you continue the main quest. The dialogue is endlessly humourous, the environments and character designs are inventive and pretty, and the hack, slash, and block action battle system is more than enough fun to last the 10-15 hour experience. I mean, I wasn’t counting, but that feels about right.

Incidentally, it’s also the first game I’ve 100%’d, trophy-wise. It’s a downloadable title, so there’s no Platinum trophy, but it still feels good. Forget that you can essentially get everything just by completing the game and every sidequest, but still! The ending left no room for there to not to be a sequel, so I hope the game does well enough to warrant a green light for a continuation.

I also beat Braid -
Although this time I had help from a guide. I gave all the puzzles a shot and figured a lot of it out on my own, but I didn’t like the game enough to really go nuts trying to figure it out. It’s an incredibly creative title with a cool mood and a great ending, but like I said to Darth earlier: I’m not jizzing all over it. I’m glad I finally played it, though. I’m interested to see what Blow will try next, and if he can learn to laugh at himself a little bit. I’ve heard him on a podcast before, actually, and he was legitimately very intelligent, but I felt like he took himself a little too seriously. It’s fine to delve into serious philosophical thoughts and theories, and one shouldn’t be ashamed of his own intellect, but sometimes it’s easier to take something seriously if it knows how to make fun of itself. Ironic as that may sound. Anyway, that’s not the only other PSN game I got my hands on…

PixelJunk Shooter -
This is probably my favourite of the PixelJunk games. Granted, I’ve only thoroughly tried out Monsters and had about 30 minutes with Eden, but it was enough for me to get a good sense of the “series”, I think. Shooter has a great style and controls like a dream. It also has a good combination of puzzle solving and action. It’s one of those titles that you can pick up really quickly, but start to notice that the physics are really deep and that you’re slowly able to manipulate them to your advantage. It looks like it’s going to be quite short, but I’ve been enjoying my time with it for sure.

Joe Danger -
This is that Excite Bike-esque game. I only played it for a short time, but it looks like it’s going to be nuanced and addictive. More to come on that. So most of these were good picks, except…

WOW, Turtles in Time Reshelled is a piece of shit -
Truly, truly horrible. The controls are loose, the fighting is shallow, the audio is abysmal, and it’s hard to tell where your character is in relation to the enemy half the time. Just an awful, awful game. Honestly garbage.

Alright Riddles! What chu got?

Scatter Storming. Issue #034

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

It hasn’t been a month, but it has been half of one, so it’s time to bring back this sucker. I’m writing this while listening to Eminem’s Recovery, so let’s see if that has an effect.

First up, I played a butt-load of FFIX -
It went up on the PSN and it instantly went on my PSP. I’m so glad to have it on a portable device because I feel like I can finally beat it again. Whenever I attempt to beat it on my PS2, I always end up wanting to play consoles titles that I haven’t beat yet. My PSP lets me play it bit by bit in the control room at work, or on the subway, or even the bathroom. Yes, I toilet-game. Any true gamer does. Anyway, the game is amazing still. Incredibly human characters and reactions. I love how many scenes are just dedicated to getting to know characters and how they interact. I’m surprised with how often I’m genuinely smiling and giggling at the script.

I recently read over Riddlethos.com’s The Final Fantasy Week and I don’t think I did a good job explaining and defending the title. I think because I thought people were sick of my praise of the game, but fuck that shit, this replay is just confirming my praise! And believe it or not, I would be the first to criticize if things didn’t live up to my memory.

Like Kuja’s script. It’s hit or miss. He’s got some fantastic lines, but also the biggest duds. So let me leave you with a non-Kuja quote.

The woman she thought was her mother became someone else. And her real mother was already dead. Dagger has lost two mothers…

Poignant stuff, Zidane!

Damn, Recovery ended -
It’s not as varied as Relapse, but the rhymes are undeniably stronger. Too bad that no other track lives up to Not Afraid, the first single.

Dragon Quest IX -
I’ve played 20 hours already. How the Olicaust did that happen? I don’t want to go into full detail here because I’ll write full impressions later, but let’s just say that I’m greatly appreciating the lack of random battles, the – albeit not intuitive – ability to check experience needed to level up without going to a church, and improved equipment screen. Also, the fact that my party members have no back stories nor personalities doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Because let’s be honest, the only two party members people cared about from Dragon Quest VIII were Jessica’s left breast and Jessica’s right breast.

I played the Deathspank demo -
I want to buy it. But I don’t even have the $15. Anybody here tried it? The demo was fun.

I would weigh in on the changes to Dragon Age and – more importantly – to Pokémon, but my apathy toward the subjects just barely outweighs my desire to spark controversy. So that’s that.

How are you guys enjoying the return to content? I knows I am!